2014 Holiday Gift Guide: The Foodie & The Cook

2015 Gift Guide- Foodie

Shop the Guide: 1 Olympic Provisions Salami Bouquet 2 Tangerine Print 3 Poppy Ring Rolling Pin 4 Indigo Wood & Bone Servers 5 Handcrafted Pizza Cutter 6 Laguiole Steak Knives 7 Brass & Walnut Pour Over Coffee Stand 8 Askinosie Peppermint Bark 9 Tina Frey White Champagne Bucket

To me the holidays are all about family. And food. The meals that become traditions and the wafting smells that bring you comfort. The kitchen is a special place to be during the holidays. Whether you’re shopping for a treat loving co-worker or a friend with a new kitchen, these goodies are sure to please (and look beautiful while doing so!).

For the beverage connoisseur I recommend a beautiful handcrafted coffee stand or a sleekly sculpted champagne bucket. Surprise a foodie friend with a creative and divine salami bouquet (Olympic Provisions is responsible for the one time I’ve eaten an entire salami in one sitting- it’s that good) or a box of delectable peppermint bark from craft chocolate purveyor Askinosie. Surprise your favorite cook with a too-pretty-to-use rolling pin or a set of classic Laguiole steak knives in bright colors. When you’re really stumped, just about everyone can use some beautiful servers and a swanky pizza cutter but save the gorgeous tangerine print for someone extra deserving of some beauty in their lives.

Cheers to a holiday season filled with love, laughter and delicious food!

Healthy Fall Quiche Recipe

fall quiche

I don’t know about you, but Sundays always seem like the perfect time to plant myself in the kitchen and fill the house with yummy aromas from the oven. There’s something so gratifying about waking up your loved ones with the smell of freshly baked goods and a hot pot of coffee. This delicious quiche is so easy to whip up and is a healthy alternative to the usual cream filled pie crust bottomed recipe we’re used to. More healthy recipes like this can be found in the Against All Grain cookbook (my new fav!).

What you’ll need:

  • 1 medium sweet potato (or butternut squash works too)
  • 1.5 lbs breakfast sausage, casings removed, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 10 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk (or regular)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a pie plate with a thin layer of olive oil. Peel your sweet potato and use a mandolin (or sharp knife) to thinly slice the potato into very thin disks. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a circular pattern, covering the bottom of the pie plate completely. Layer the sausage evenly over the potatoes, covering the entire surface. Sprinkle the rosemary gently over the sausage layer. Place the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the beaten egg mixture into the dish. Back for 30 minutes or until the center is set and the eggs have puffed up.

Serve with a side of hot sauce and a steamy beverage of choice. Enjoy!

Show and Tell- Napa Edition

Show and Tell- Napa

The hubby and I are just back from an amazing long weekend in Napa. After marrying at The Carneros Inn last May, they gave us a free stay as an anniversary gift so we jumped at the chance to soak up an extra long weekend at our favorite little slice of paradise. While each of our trips to Napa have been different, we always stick to the following guidelines: visit small production wineries (with some exceptions), eat a lot of amazing food (not very hard) and try to relax at the hotel as much as possible (sometimes a challenge with everything else we like to fit in). I’m often asked by clients for tips on what to do and see while visiting Napa Valley. There really is so much to explore,  but without further adieu, here is a very brief overview of just a few personal favorites.


There are so many hidden gems to explore in wine country which means a little upfront research and planning can go a long way. For an amazingly peaceful setting, fabulous modern farmhouse architecture, rich and wonderful wines (and fabulous branding to boot) I adore Larkmead Vineyards. A similar ambiance in a less private setting can be found at the laid back Frog’s Leap (you can find me drinking their Rosé all summer long). For a secluded setting with delicious reds (and if you’re lucky a tasting of their aged Balsamic), make a reservation at The Terraces. Get your fix of bubbly at the beautiful Domaine Carneros and take a tour of a a wonderful vineyard at Gundlach Bundschu for a taste of the Sonoma side of things.


Just like tasty wine, delicious food is not hard to find in Napa Valley. My list of favorite restaurants is long but there are a few we visit on repeat. While I enjoy Redd, their sister restaurant, Redd Wood dishes up fabulous pizzas and pasta in a laid back setting that is perfect after a long day of tasting. Head across the street to Ciccio, a no-reservations local hang that serves some mean rustic italian. I could eat their whole grilled fish ten times over. For fabulous Italian in Napa proper, stop by Oenotri (or Bottega in Yountville)- you won’t be disappointed with either. Once you’re tired of Italian and really craving some pomme frites, Bistro Jeanty is an old favorite. Perfect for a rich lunch particularly during the colder months of the year. When you’re feeling like checking something off the bucket list there’s always French Laundry. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience (tip: come rested (both yourself and your wallet) as you will be there for hours). On the opposite end of the spectrum are my favorite lunch spots- Fremont Diner for casual diner grub, La Luna Tacqueria for authentic Mexican to-go, Addendum for Ad Hoc’s famous fried chicken and Oxbow Public Market for a variety of tasty treats. Lastly, I can’t leave Boon Fly Cafe off the list as their mini-donuts are a Napa staple for us.


If you ask me, there are few places in the world more serene and relaxing than the Hilltop pool at The Carneros Inn. Equally splurge worthy is Bardessono in Yountville, Solage in Calistoga or the classic Auberge du Soleil. If looking for something a little more reasonable, there are  many great options centrally located in Yountville like Villagio and the newer modern boutique, North Block.

Wine Country, you never cease to rejuvenate me. Cheers to another year with the wine cellar stocked!

*For further tips or itinerary planning, contact Brass Tacks today*

Spring Organics

Spring Organics

1 RMS Beauty 2 RMS Mascara 3 COOLA Sunscreen 4 Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap 5 Late July Organic Snacks 6 One Love Organics Skin Savior

For me, Spring isn’t just about cleaning my closets and stopping to smell the tulips. It’s a time of year that always inspires me to reflect on my health and lifestyle choices. As the snow melts away, I’m motivated to exercise more and fill my body with healthy veggies and whole grains. I focus on my post-winter skin by nourishing it with moisture and protecting it from the sun rays it’s not used to feeling. Minnesotans experiences such seasonal extremes that force you to a heightened awareness of seasonal transitions. After six months in the frozen tundra, Spring is by far the most long awaited transition. Every year I go through a “spring renewal” ritual and pamper myself with healthy organic food, fabulous new products and even an annual moisturizing body wrap. It’s a way to say hello to Spring and start six months of warmth feeling refreshed and energized.

This year, I’m loving so many wonderful organic products I don’t even know where to start with my pampering. RMS “”un” cover-up was a favorite throughout winter and I’m now loving their living luminizer, mascara and just about every other product they make.  I recently discovered One Love Organics through the fabulously curated local online boutique, Love Crate, and am using it as both a cleanser and moisturizer. Perfect not only for spring but also next winter! I discovered COOLA Organic Suncare Collection after a malfunctioning aerosol sunscreen incident in Hawaii last all. Our resort came to the rescue with this fabulous replacement and it’s now my go-to sunscreen- it smells divine! Speaking of fabulous scents, I am such a sucker for Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products and the amazing scents they come in- Radish, Basil, Rosemary– yes please! While her products make doing dishes a little less painful, I often choose to stick to my Late July Organic Snacks to avoid dirty dishes all together.

What fabulous organic products are keeping you healthy and happy this spring?!